Bushwalking to Granite Skywalk in Porongurup Range, Western Australia
Porongurup Range was a challenging bush walk for me.The range is located 360 kms south east of Perth and 40kms north of Albany in the south west region of Western Australia.The 4.4km return journey from the carpark to the granite skywalk at Castle Rock which rises 670 metres was described as a walk. (insert laugh here). It was a scramble, a climb, an exhausting journey.
Oh my, but it was worth it when I reached the summit and looked out over the surrounding countryside. Looking south to Albany across the farmlands, southeast to Mt Gardner and Mt Manypeaks and north to the Stirling Ranges. It was exhilarating to stand so high above the ground and look out over the land below to the far horizon.
People of all ages, shapes and sizes were making the climb up (passing me by), or on the way back down. Everyone had a friendly greeting. The downward walkers would all greet you with a "g'day" or "hello", followed by words of encouragement such as, "it is worth it", "not far now". Signposts along the way advised how far you had to go to reach the summit. I am sure someone kept moving them. The path is well marked by the feet of previous adventurers. At the beginning, part of the path is smooth and straight for a short while. Then the scrambling and climbing truly begins. The journey through the forest is beautiful. There is a peacefulness when you can breath in the fresh clean air and feel your energy replenishing.
Oh how I wished I could run up the hill as the children were doing with seemingly inexhaustable energy. With great determination I would count off my steps and rest when I reached each count of 80, pretending I had stopped to admire the surrounding landscape, when in actuality it was to catch my breath.
The landscape was amazing and I feel that I saw more of it than those adventurers who didn't stop along the way. The joy is in the journey remember, not the destination. This forest is populated with jarrah, karri and marri trees.
Getting close to the top I reached the balancing rocks. These giant sculptures are shaped by natural forces. The whole range here started as a huge bubble of molten granite. Pressure and changes in temperature caused the granite mass to crack in straight lines, called joints. Rain seeped into the joints, washing away molecules of granite and caused the cracks to widen slowly. The surface slowly weathered and flaked over many years into rounded boulders.
There are two lookouts here. The lower one is accessible to anyone who has made it this far.
The upper lookout requires the further effort of scrambling through and over rocks, often just holding onto metal spikes embedded in the rock. Then there is the climbing of a 6 metre ladder to reach the platform.
Porongurup Range is a fascinating place for hiking. There are over 750 native species of flora in an area of just 2600 hectares. As this is in a national park area, fees apply.The picnic area near the carpark has covered seating and picnic tables, bbqs and toilets. The carpark does have availability for campers and caravans.
I spent four hours here, feeling an immense sense of accomplishment for having conquered the climb. This is definitely a must do when on your visit to Western Australia.
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